Pinkel puts early kibosh on Buckeyes talk

Ohio State won't officially be looking for a coach for at least a few months, as interim coach Luke Fickell undergoes an audition during the 2011 season.

But that won't stop speculation, and Missouri coach Gary Pinkel -- an Akron, Ohio, native -- has made a few cameos on candidate lists since former Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel resigned on Monday.

Pinkel, though --in Springfield, Mo., for a Tigers football camp -- told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Ohio State will have to look elsewhere for a coach.

"There's 5,000 names probably up for that. I grew up in Ohio and I have great respect for Jim Tressel, too. It's very unfortunate what happened and how everything came down. I'm the head football coach at the University of Missouri and I'm committed to trying to continue to build the program and make it better and better. And that's what I intend to do."

Then, Pinkel was asked If Ohio State came offering,

"I would suggest that that's what I would say," Pinkel said.

Pinkel, 59, would hardly be at the top of Ohio State's list, but would be a strong candidate if he wanted the job. His stance, though, shouldn't be a surprise.

At a coaching convention in January in Dallas (one I ran into Pinkel during, coincidentally enough) Pinkel declined an interview with Michigan, who eventually hired Brady Hoke from San Diego State.

He's built a solid program during his decade at Missouri, winning at least a share of the Big 12 North in three of the past four seasons, and winning 40 games during that span, one of the best stretches in Missouri football history.

Pinkel can say he sees himself retiring at Missouri as many times as he wants, but when reports of actions (like not talking with Michigan) surface, it's obvious that he means them.